The Importance of Educating Girls in Sierra Leone

Published Tue, Feb 27, 2024
Written by Dana Kaltenberger



Getting an education in a developing country like Sierra Leone is challenging for both boys and girls. The International Monetary Fund’s 2023 World Economic Outlook Database ranks Sierra Leone as 193rd on the list of richest to poorest countries based on gross domestic product per person ($414/year). By comparison, the US ranks 7th on the same list with a GDP per person of ~$83,000 per year (roughly 200 times that in Sierra Leone). Besides poverty, the lingering effects of the civil war, as well as the Ebola and Coronavirus outbreaks have left the education system in a state of disarray.

But as challenging as it is for all children, the girls of Sierra Leone face even more challenges than boys. In addition to poverty and lack of access to quality education, girls face cultural norms that prioritize educating boys and forcing girls into early marriage. With families living at a bare subsistence level, many girls are expected to take on domestic responsibilities, which can limit their ability to attend school regularly, if at all.  Additionally, rape, teen pregnancy, and female genital mutilation (FGM) continue to threaten our young women stealing their opportunity for educational success. 

EduNations not only provides schools and resources to make education possible, but also is working to change community attitudes towards girls’ education. We do this through community outreach, advocacy, and awareness programs emphasizing the benefits and importance of educating girls.

EduNations’ social workers play a crucial role in understanding and addressing the specific challenges within each community. The Education Secretary and the heads of schools collaborate with our social workers in several ways. They work to organize community meetings and forums to discuss the importance of girls’ education and to address the cultural and societal barriers that prevent girls from attending school. Next, they collaborate with social workers to develop and implement outreach programs that target specific parents and community leaders to get their support in getting girls in school and keeping them there. By working together, they are addressing the root causes of the challenges girls face in accessing education and creating sustainable change within the community.


By continually addressing the barriers and fostering supportive environments, EduNations strives to ensure that every girl can join her male peers in accessing quality education and reaching her full potential. As the adage goes “if you educate a woman, you educate a nation.”

Thank you for your support in educating the girls of Sierra Leone!